A new national public opinion poll found that even religious voters are tired of Presidential candidates harping about religion. Contrary to claims that Republicans and religiously affiliated voters are becoming “anti-science,” a study commissioned by ScienceDebate.org shows that 82 percent of Catholics and 83 percent of Protestants want to hear candidates for president debate the major science challenges facing the United States, rather than issues of faith or values.
Respondents ranked science third in importance as a presidential debate theme, ahead of the environment, and far ahead of faith and values, which 49 percent of Catholics and 59 percent of Protestants rated as important, but below the economy and taxes, and national security, which ranked one and two respectively.
Even though the general environment didn’t emerge as a front runner for voter concern, alternative energy did. Fifty-three percent of all likely US voters ranked developing alternative energy as a top US spending priority, second only to paying down the federal deficit. This is about twice the number of voters that think the government is not spending enough on national defense or space exploration. Funding science and math education came in fourth, just behind investing in roads and bridges, and scientific research was fifth.
Funny, I don’t remember alternative energy, education, or scientific research being a component of any of the many debates that have taken place during the GOP primaries. Except for that weird moon colony thing.
An even more encouraging result of the study indicated that respondents – both overall and among Catholics and Protestants – think public policies should be based on the best available science and not the personal opinions or beliefs of elected officials, said ScienceDebate.org cofounder Shawn Lawrence Otto, who said the views could have an impact on major science-driven policies such as whether and how to address climate change. Eighty-one percent of Republican voters also said it is inappropriate for elected officials to hold back or interfere with scientific reports that conflict with their own views, along with seventy-five percent of Democrats.
Both parties claim to have the best interests of the people at heart. Unfortunately, they continually fail to listen to the people, who are desperately trying to tell them what those interests are! The push to return America to its “religious roots” isn’t what the people have asked for. What they have asked for is a country that prioritizes science-based education, innovation, and policy. America should be a country where religious affiliation doesn’t matter. Literally. Listen up candidates, we don’t care which god you worship or who you sleep with. We realize that so many of the most serious problems the country is facing revolve around science, that science is itself an American value, and we want to know what you’re going to do about it.
More details of the methodology, together with results of the entire poll, can be found here (PDF).
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